Private Rented Sector

Part of Opposition Day — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:29 pm on 25th June 2014.

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Photo of John Stevenson John Stevenson Conservative, Carlisle 2:29 pm, 25th June 2014

I completely agree with my hon. Friend that that was the Committee’s conclusion. We recommended model tenancy agreements—I am delighted that the Government will be introducing them over the summer, after a consultation—a redress scheme and transparency in letting fees.

Addressing the specific issues raised in the motion is remarkably easy. I believe that the Opposition are misguided in their approach to that market. In fact, their motion does not even mention the critical issue: the need for more housing of all types. It mentions stability and certainty, but there is actually a remarkable amount of certainty, combined with a large degree of flexibility. Leases can be for six months, which is the default position, but we often forget that they can be for any length thereafter. It could be five years, 10 years or 18 months; it depends on the relationship between the landlord and tenant and the requirements of both. Indeed, many tenants do not want a three-year tenancy. They might want six months because they are moving into an area to see whether it is the right place for them to live or because they are looking to buy a property or to rent long term.

The same applies to the landlord. The accidental landlord might not want to grant a three-year tenancy. They might want a six-month tenancy, with a view to putting the property on the market afterwards. The existing arrangements create a great deal of flexibility. It is also interesting to note that a large number of tenancies are brought to an end by the tenant, not the landlord.